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August 26, 2020

To the Ones who Follow their Partners Across the World.

This could be the story of any trailing spouse or any individual.

With globalization, we have experienced numerous families moving from their home country to a foreign land.

Although this is written from the point of view of a woman, it could very well be in the mind of a man or anyone who is a trailing spouse and has had to navigate through the repeated moves to different parts of the world. This is written not as a regret, but from a space of realization of the emotions the spouse may have experienced and felt or are still figuring out as they settle down.

My message is: instead of trying to settle down in the country, try to settle yourself down. The outside environment will adjust. I wish the best to all such wandering souls.

~

The opportunity has knocked on the door

Not for the person, but for the spouse

For them as a family unit

She is excited for him

As soon as the news lands

Her mind has cognized it as a good thing

And with it brings the “good” sensations

Nothing seems to matter

Only the future and all the good things along with it

The clothes she is going to buy

The way she will walk under the clear blue skies

She has transported herself to a completely new place

She has imagined the place to be perfect

And if she is working now—that’s no problem

She will get another job there

She also starts visualizing how she will work in the new country

All good, all good

And then the real conversations start

She begins to look at the new place

The home, the car, the job, the living expenses, the school fees

All and sundry

The numbers are important

Although she never considered the emotional effect coming with the move

She has started putting numbers to the emotional loss

The distance from family, friends, and all the known and comfortable things

Funny, because she never thought of it even once before the dream

She takes it upon herself to make the move smooth and seamless

The spouse comes through the door and

She asks, “Have they made you the offer?”

The numbers don’t look enough

The numbers are low

They are trying to fleece you and all the

Expectations you are finding mismatching

She loses focus

Focusing on the present moment and

Preparing herself for the move

She completely ignores the pressure

That she might be putting her spouse through

Oh no. That will be handled later

Now is the time to focus and get

All the things that have been put on the paper

To life

 

Inadvertently, she missed out on asking how

The spouse feels with what’s going on

That does not seem important at the moment

The leveraging of the opportunity

Is far more important

The entire world is capitalizing on globalization

So why not us?

At what cost? She does not have the maturity

To comprehend that at the moment

While she is with all the “goods” and the promises

She also remembers to remind herself of all the sacrifices

That she has to make: job, children

And all to support the move, “the opportunity”

She plays the supporter and the victim card with finesse

She does not realize that she is anxious

Anxious about the future and maybe

This is the first time that she will shoulder

The responsibility of the move

The responsibility of getting all settled

The focus is out

Completely forgetting to focus on the inside

That she will handle when she gets some time

The date comes closer

The move is fine

The company has taken care of it

The move has actually happened.

And the first few days are terrible

Neither is it a holiday

Nor is it a homecoming

It feels strange

She’s in a rush to settle down

Just the way she had visualized

But that’s not what’s happening

The spouse goes to work

And here she is handling the groceries,

Planning for the food, children’s schools

Planning for the property agents

And on the phone shuttling between the pot and the phone

No one to speak with

 

The reality sinks in

She is not liking the move at all

It is not a holiday

The only adult with her is her spouse

Who appears in the evening

Tired and exhausted

She forgets to ask

How does he feel

How is the new work environment

How is he feeling?

Even if she asks

She quickly falls into narrating her whole day

And how difficult it has been for her to get things done

Expecting the spouse to say, thank you for the support

Or a, “Well done”

Unrealistic and insensitive

But for her, she is perfectly in place

To expect that support

She does not know yet,

She is missing the point of change

She is missing the point of life.

All her dreams of walking the street in fanciful clothes

With friends and family—the job

Start to fade away

There comes a point when she starts missing

All that has been left behind

The “notional” loss

Suddenly becomes magnified

And who is to be blamed

The spouse, of course

If it had not been because of him

She would have been in her job

Had support from family and friends

Attending different parties

Enjoying life

 

Suddenly the opportunity becomes a pain

She swings between depression and anxiety.

She still does not know what is happening with her

She is focusing on everything outside of her

She still does not know that her brain is getting used

To the synapses

And the repeated behaviors

Are turning into a habit pattern

Unknowingly she drops

She falls into a state of a walking emotional mess

But still, the eyes are on the car, the home,

And all the material things

But no focus on the person next to her

She writes diaries of her teary stories

But misses living the present story

The present story of her mental state

The present story of life as it is happening

Her present story seems to be

That of her past life

All the goods of the past

She starts to tell the story

Of all the things she has lost

She starts suffering

With doubting herself

The story of “I have lost myself

That story runs on the loop

With her friends and her family

The journey from a dreamer to the loser

Comes pretty quick

And several years go by running

That story from morning until night

And one day, something shifts

She opens her eyes

To all the wonderful things around her

Happy individuals around her

The famished humankind in war-torn countries

And she ignites the spirit of optimism

And most importantly, gratefulness

But the story still tugs her back

And when it does,

She brings herself to acknowledge

That they are mere stories

It is up to her to change the narrative

Oh no, she is not settling, just as yet

She is fighting through the pain

The demons in her head

The subtlety of the sensations in her mind

Becomes clear

She grounds herself in the present moment

She grounds herself in her current breath

She grounds herself with things which bring her joy

And brings to it complete mindfulness

 

Her heart and mind has opened up

To the sufferings of other people

She drops the judgment hat

Listening to the stories

And bringing an understanding to self and to others

Of the fact that suffering follows desires and expectations

It takes time, understanding, faith, and patience

To come out of the stories

The affirmations and other superficial things

Only build expectations and more craving

The idea is to purify the mind

And one day, the clean mind

Will eventually lead to good actions and words

Will lead her to the well-lived moments

One breath at a time.

~

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